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Posts with tag theorycrafting

Warlords of Draenor: High level characters vs. lower level content

In the new theorycrafting sticky on the Warlords of Draenor Alpha forums, there's a big post by Celestalon that explains how we're going to be able to solo old raids and such with the item squish making us proportionately less powerful in those raids. It's worth breaking down here, for those of us (like me) who enjoy that sort of thing for either fun or transmog.

First up, all players will gain a damage reduction factors when attacked by creatures that are lower level, starting at Cataclysm content and heading down from there. Creatures from Mists of Pandaria and, presumably Warlords of Draenor will not be affected by this. So once a creature from Cataclysm content or below (Wrath, BC and Vanilla) attacks a character that outlevels them, there will be a formula that determines how little damage the character takes. Celestalon presented it as such.

LevelDiff = PlayerLevel - CreatureLevel
if (CreatureExpansion < Pandaria) then
// 10% DR per level diff, with a floor of 10%
DamageTakenFactor = max(1.0 - 0.1 * LevelDiff, 0.1)
DamageTakenFactor = 1.0

What this means is that, when your level 100 character goes inside a level 80 Wrath raid, they'll have a very large reduction in how much damage they take.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Raiding, Transmogrification, Warlords of Draenor

Professions divorced from combat in 6.0

Armored draenei
The Warlords of Draenor 6.0 patch notes brought many surprises, but one of the biggest is that professions will no longer provide bonuses that affect combat.

Amidst the endless sea of notes, it's easy to miss these two sentences that will forever change the role of professions in WoW:
Warlords of Draenor: Alpha Patch Notes
Some of our goals with Professions in Warlords of Draenor are to make them more of a personal choice, and less of a mandatory "min/max" selection. To that end, we're removing the direct combat benefits of Professions.

For many years, theorycrafters and min/max'ers have baked profession bonuses into their calculations. The crit from skinning, the Synapse Springs of engineers, the eye gems of jewelcrafters, the warmer wrists of leatherworkers, etc. -- all of them have affected which professions are "best" for certain specs.

In recent expansions we've seen Blizzard try to make the bonuses more or less even across specs, with mixed success. Now, all of these bonuses are headed to the chopping block in patch 6.0, at least in their current incarnations.

Maxed-out professions will no longer be essential for high-end PvE or PvP activities. We will no longer need to weigh our personal preference against possible combat advantages. In fact, players will be able to skip leveling professions at all, if they choose, without penalty to their character's performance. This strikes me as a good change.

Will professions only provide an economic advantage from 6.0 on? Or will they give us other bonuses, such as extra lesser charms, bonus pet battle XP, or faster garrison construction? Will Blizzard tweak the existing combat-related recipes to provide different bonuses? Or will the developers remove them entirely? Many questions remain to be answered as the alpha progresses!

Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

What If: Clash of the Frozen Thrones

I love doing lore columns, and I really enjoy doing Tinfoil Hat Editions of Know Your Lore -- I like the process of finding all the loose threads from expansions past and pulling them together in a way that is just weird enough to feasibly work. Sometimes, however, I come up with ideas that are just a little too far out there for a Tinfoil Hat Edition. Certainly they're interesting enough, but feasible? Not in the slightest.

When it comes to Warlords of Draenor, there are a lot of questions that haven't been answered. This is to be expected. We haven't even seen the beta for the expansion yet. We have absolutely no idea where that story is going to lead, other than commentary at BlizzCon suggesting that it will directly feed into the expansion following. Yet that tiny little comment, along with some thinking about Warlords itself gave me a theory regarding the next expansion. No, not Warlords -- I'm talking about the expansion after that.

It's entirely implausible of course, which is why I'm not sticking it in the Know Your Lore column. But what the heck, let's take a moment and ask ourselves what if -- and consider the possibility of Azeroth's greatest villain reborn.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Warlords of Draenor

So you want to be a theorycrafter

detail of screenshot from

If you're anything like me, just reading that word filled you with a sudden sense of intimidation, inferiority, awe ... and, whoa. Wait a minute. What's that other emotion huddled there in the corner, being beaten up by our fear of failure? Is that curiosity?

If you've ever used Ask Mr. Robot and asked yourself, "How do people determine which of our stats are better than others?" If you've ever played a healer and asked yourself, "How do people figure out which spells are the most efficient to use at which times?" If you've ever played a DPS class and asked yourself, "How do people figure out what my spell priority should be?" Basically, if you've ever wondered how some of our game's brightest players find the answers to our most pressing questions about game mechanics, then there's at least some small part of you that's interested in theorycrafting.

So, great, you're interested. Now what? How the heck does a person get started, especially when theorycrafting seems so complicated?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding

Scattered Shots: Hunter Theorycrafting 101

WoW Hunter Theorycrafting
Every Thursday, WoW Insider brings you Scattered Shots for beast mastery, marksmanship and survival hunters. This week, your host Adam Koebel, aka Bendak will be discussing how to maximize your performance through theorycrafting.

Whenever someone asks me what my secret is for topping the meters, I always tell them it's because I push my buttons harder than anyone else in the raid. Most of them think I'm joking, but it's the truth. High DPS players are keyboard abusers who don't miss a single global cooldown. This is the biggest factor in your DPS, but optimization through theorycrafting still matters -- it's like icing on the cake.

If you're scared of a little math, then don't be. There are fancy tools that do everything for you now such as Zeherah's Hunter DPS Analyzer, Simulation Craft and Ask Mr. Robot. Aside from squeezing out a little bit of extra DPS, theorycrafting will help you understand your abilities and how they contribute to your DPS which is going to result in better damage in the real world.

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Filed under: Hunter, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Scattered Shots: Hello, old friend

Marksman Hunter
Every Thursday, WoW Insider brings you Scattered Shots for beast mastery, marksmanship and survival hunters. This week, your host Adam Koebel, aka Bendak will be discussing the black sheep of the hunter family.

To the hunter pariahs who still religiously play marksmanship, all four of you, I salute your dedication to our forgotten specialization. You've kept the spark of hope alive in our hunter hearts. The hope that someday marksmanship will make its triumphant return to the top of the damage meters, just as it was in the armor penetration glory days of Icecrown Citadel.

Perhaps I'm being a teensy bit dramatic, but as a 8-year (soon to be 9-year) hunter, I do have a soft spot for marksmanship. That's why I was happy to hear about the recent hotfix to boost Chimera Shot's damage by a whopping 50%. I wondered if this was enough to make marksmanship competitive, so I decided to shun my traditional beast mastery and survival specs for a week to give marksmanship its fair chance.

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Filed under: Hunter, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Breakfast Topic: Is WoW losing the romance by focusing on the numbers?

Breakfast Topic Is WoW losing the romance by focusing on the numbers
Virtually every player eagerly embraced the advent of facts, figures, and formulae driving the game when they first began to trickle through to the player base some years ago. We scoured forums, fan sites, and data-driven websites like Wowhead. A way to tell which gear worked best for your character? Sweet. Community managers and devs who actually explained and discussed game mechanics? Utterly amazing. It was a brave new world and an entirely new way to play. Gone were the days when players murmured longingly of eloquently named pieces whose names evoked the epic locations they came from. Now, it was all about tiers. We argued endlessly over the correct numerical sequencing of armor sets –- remember the etymological debate over "Dungeon 2" vs. "Tier 0.5"?

A little bit of knowledge about how to tinker under the hood is absolutely a positive and helpful thing. Today, we expect free access to ability and spell mechanics and a point-by-point road map to gearing up. But at some point, overachievers that we humans are, so many numbers can make the game feel more like a checklist of benchmarks than a storied progression of fantastic encounters and arcane gear.

Whether or not all the analysis gets under your skin, it's easy to see how this emphasis on precision and analysis evolved. The question is, do you think that this is merely a subjective matter of roleplay immersion in the fantasy aspect of World of Warcraft, or do you think the attitude actually reduces the game in spirit and heart? Do the vistas and horizons of Azeroth ever seem uncomfortably closer when every step is paved with a formula pointing to your destination? Where do we stand on the balance scale of pre-analyzing and measuring how the numbers stack up vs. gaining a feel from experience for how things work in the world of Azeroth?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Have you given up metagaming?

Breakfast Topic Have you given up metagaming
Simpler. Streamlined. Better. Most of us would agree those terms play nicely together, as Blizzard trims the fat from WoW's game systems to make today's game the most accessible it's ever been. When you want to figure out the best way to do something in game, you'll quickly discover there's a website (and usually an addon and frequently an app) for that. Someone's probably already theorycrafted that gearing, made a video of that encounter, or written up a step-by-step how-to guide of that process.

Of course, you could keep working through all the details yourself. For many players, figuring out what to do and how to do it is the best part of the game. But others are plenty glad to wash their hands of all those lists and numbers. In today's game, alt-tabbing, second monitors, and playing with a tablet handily logged in to Wowhead are more than rule than the exception.

Do you do less metagaming and theorycrafting than you did once upon a time? If so, is that because the game simply doesn't demand it, because you turn to other resources to do it for you, or because that aspect of the game no longer feels compelling? What resources fill your metagaming needs these days? Or are you still cooking up spreadsheets and calculating formulae with the best of them?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

A look at avoidance balancing in Mists

A look at avoidance balancing in Mists
Theck, the paladin tank theorycrafter, has recently finished a series of posts at his blog looking at the state of avoidance in the upcoming expansion. He examined every aspect of the system with the help of a deluge of formulae to come up with some very helpful information for tanks to brush up on while waiting for Mists and all its new content to launch.

In particular, in the earlier parts of the series, Theck discerned the new formula for working out each avoidance stat after diminishing returns. As a result, he was able to plot out (for plate tanks in particular) the proper ratio that dodge and parry should be balanced at.

Right now, on live, we want to keep parry and dodge as absolutely close as possible. The two have the same diminishing returns curve, which means that x points of parry will be diminished exactly the same as x points of dodge. As such, if you have 3% more parry than dodge, you're losing a non-zero amount of avoidance to the gaping maw of diminishing returns that you might otherwise keep if it was reforged to dodge.

However, as Theck has discovered, the DR curves were bent significantly apart in Mists, to the point that we'll want much more parry to keep an even ratio with dodge -- about three times more parry, to be exact.

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

The Light and How to Swing It: New tools for evaluating holy paladins

wol parse
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Every Sunday, Chase Christian invites you to discuss the finer side of the paladin class: the holy specialization. Feel free to email me with any questions you want answered, like why paladins are so awesome.

DPS classes have it easy. Their only goal is to deal more damage than the other guys. Their existence revolves around a single, immutable metric: DPS. There's no ambiguity when comparing two damage classes, as their DPS speaks for itself. As a DPS player's gear and skill improve, it directly increases their damage done, allowing them to evaluate their performance clearly and instantly.

Evaluating a healer is much more difficult. As their group's damage and skill improve, their healing numbers will actually go down. Healers are relied on the most when a raid is attempting a new encounter and gradually become marginalized as the fight moves toward farm status. As a healer, your best HPS performance might be the very first time you down an encounter. If you're killing heroic Ultraxion in four minutes, your raid simply isn't taking enough damage for you to parse highly. In order to properly evaluate a holy paladin's play, you have to dig deeper.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

Encrypted Text: The economics of energy capping

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Encrypted Text for assassination, combat and subtlety rogues. Chase Christian will be your guide to the world of shadows every Wednesday. Feel free to email me with any questions or article suggestions you'd like to see covered here.

I'm not an economics expert, and in fact, I never even studied it in college. World of Warcraft is what drove me to stay up late at night reading articles on Wikipedia about game theory and the invisible hand of the market. A plethora of interesting mathematical models are at play in WoW, spanning everything from zero-sum DKP systems to diminishing returns on tanking secondary stats.

Energy capping is a big deal for combat rogues right now, as our shiny Dragon Soul epics have us swimming in more haste than ever before. Both of our current tier set bonuses further exacerbate the issue by reducing our energy expenditure and extending our energy regeneration cooldown. There's an economic solution for the problem that we're facing, and understanding what an opportunity cost is will help us make the right decisions.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Encrypted Text: Even rogues have homework

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Encrypted Text for assassination, combat and subtlety rogues. Chase Christian will be your guide to the world of shadows every Wednesday. Feel free to email me with any screenshots you'd like to see featured here or any questions you might have!

I hate homework. When I was in school, I was always finding creative ways to turn my assignments in as late as possible. I completed most my English assignments the night before they were due, and I've solved a few calculus questions in the car on my way to class. No matter how important the assignment was, there was always something more interesting that I would rather do. When it comes down to a heads-up match between playing Warcraft 2 and studying biology flashcards, there's really no contest.

Playing a rogue successfully in the endgame of World of Warcraft requires a lot of homework. We've talked before about the very math-centric natures of rogue theorycrafting. Without a spreadsheet or other mathematical tool, it's almost impossible to create a working model for testing DPS and checking gear. Boss abilities are constantly changing and being added, and they often interact with our abilities in non-standard ways. Blizzard's developers are implementing fixes on a daily basis. In order to keep up with the pace of WoW's development, you simply have to do your homework.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

In defense of gear simulations

Josh Myers is not a scientist. The closest he's ever come to being one is winning the Science Fair in 8th grade and getting straight As in physics in high school. Despite these clear signs telling him to look for a career in science, he decided instead to go for a degree in English. His wallet hasn't forgiven him since.

"Just sim it" is a phrase almost everyone who has played World of Warcraft in the past few years is familiar with. Should my enhancement shaman use Tunic of Failed Experiments or Voltage Source Chestguard? Sim it. How much of a DPS increase is the four-piece Firelord's Vestments bonus? Spreadsheet it. How much DPS am I losing since I can't afford a Flask of the Winds on my hunter? SIM IT!

I'll be the very first to say that saying "just sim it" isn't a constructive thing to say. Beyond being slightly rude, it doesn't explain why simming is such a good idea. However, while I find "just sim it" to be in poor taste, the actual act of simming or spreadsheeting gear choices is a really good idea. This post aims to address why we encourage spreadsheeting your DPS choices.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Cataclysm

Spiritual Guidance: The calculus of shadow priest hit in Cataclysm

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. Every Wednesday, the shadow specced Fox Van Allen takes over Spiritual Guidance, doing all the hard work so you don't have to. So you can spend more time ... I dunno, trolling trade chat or something.

NOTE (Feb. 8, 2011): With patch 4.0.6 now having gone live, I recommend all raiding shadow priests cap at 17% (1,742 points of hit).

Every once in a while in my heroic PUGs, people get talkative. That can be a good thing or it can be a bad thing. It depends entirely on the person talking.

See, I've learned a lot of good information about bosses and strategy from complete strangers. I don't play a warrior, so it never occured to me that disarming Forgemaster Throngus would make the encounter so much easier on the healer. It was a pretty good day when an impatient healer showed me a shortcut around the Lockmaw trash in the Lost City. And it took me far longer than I'd like to admit to notice the slipstream teleporters in the Vortex Pinnacle.

But for all the good advice, there's been just as much bad advice. The worst of it came from a healer who said, in a copy-and-paste that he likely shared with every random group he was thrown in, "Cataclysm heroics are hard. If you are not hit-capped, you do not belong here. Please drop group, re-gem, and re-enchant until you are at the cap and re-queue."

That's bad advice for shadow priests on multiple levels. Managing hit caps in Wrath was easy -- get to 263 (or 289) points of hit and you were done. Cataclysm is a whole different animal, though. There are a number of important hit cap numbers to know. And getting to the ridiculously high new raiding hit cap doesn't improve your DPS. But you should probably cap out anyway. Unless you're running heroics.

Shadow priest hit in Cataclysm is a complex beast. Let's ... discuss.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Knowledge, newbies, and why kindness pays off

I played WoW on dial-up for a while, and during that time, it was close to impossible for me to raid anything but add-light 10-man content. So I did the only thing that seemed doable: leveled alts. A lot of them. While previously I had vowed to only level my rogue (my original main) to max level in any given expansion, I was suddenly the proud owner of six level 80 characters.

Even after I got back on actual broadband internet, Cataclysm's introduction of new races (especially Races That Are Worgen) gave me some more incentive to bring my number of max-level characters up to, well, its maximum level. So I finally listened to Matt Rossi and made a worgen warrior. He's awesome. And he tanks, a first for me. I've been leveling him almost exclusively through the dungeon finder, taking advantage of the instant queues for a dog what wears plate armor.

I'm still pretty new to tanking, but between new talent trees, heirlooms, and questing/dungeon gear with better stat balance, most low-level instances are a breeze. So I move fast. Sometimes a little faster than other people. The same kinds of people who attack from the front as a melee class or hit "need" on spirit weapons as a mage. And I would make snide remarks to those kinds of people.

Then I realized something. I was being kind of a jackass.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

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